Medical professionals and public health officials in Baltimore, Maryland are concerned about an alarming increase in sleep-related infant deaths.
Baltimore City and Baltimore County recorded 18 infant deaths in December and January, the Baltimore Banner reported.
For comparison, there were 14 infant deaths in 2020 and 16 infant deaths in 2021, according to city officials.
“This is more than all of last year’s sleep-related deaths total,” Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said on Wednesday. “This is deeply concerning and we need to act quickly to address this issue by alerting the public including our parents, caregivers, and providers, of the dangers of sleep-related deaths among infants.
“The recent spike reminds us we cannot be complacent,” she said. “We need to get the word out about this alarming trend. These deaths are preventable.”
Dr. Gregory Branch, director of the Baltimore County Department of Health, said the county is also experiencing the same alarming trend.
Branch said there was no increase in infant deaths due to respiratory illnesses in the county, contrary to the city.
“Some of the babies didn’t leave the hospital with their mothers, but instead left with another caretaker,” according to Branch per Baltimore Sun.
“When a mother has a baby in the hospital, she is the one who gets educated on everything,” Branch said. “But what happens if the mother gets sick and has to remain in the hospital?”
Branch stated that the county health department had been prompted to urge all healthcare providers to educate all caregivers on the ABCDEs of safe sleeping practices.
- A baby should sleep Alone — never with other babies, children, adults or pets
- A baby should sleep on their Back
- A baby should sleep in a Crib or bassinet — never on a sofa, chair or bed, and never with any pillows, quilts, comforters or toys
- Don’t smoke around the baby
- Always practice these steps. There are no Exceptions!
Medical professionals claimed the common denominator of these alarming trends was due to unsafe sleeping practices.